This evening my spirit was craving the sight and sounds of flowing water. So I put on my sneakers and gathering up my sweater, I took a short walk up Moonlight Way. (Yes, I am blessed to live off of a road called Moonlight Way. Aren’t I a lucky woman?) After a quarter of a mile or so, I took a left, and within a couple hundred yards I could hear and smell the gurgling stream.
I stepped off the edge of the road and I ducked under the boughs and branches of the trees on the banks of the creek. I stood and simply gazed at the water flowing toward me, singing its beautiful song as it made its way over and around and between the smooth water-worn rocks.
Almost immediately I felt transformed. I felt the magic of the place. I felt the blessing of this water tumbling down from some beautiful mountain spring.
What is it about flowing water that is so precious and powerful? Perhaps it is because it’s a symbol of life (for we all need water to survive) but also a metaphor for being Zen-like, for going with the flow.
Almost twenty years ago now, after a very difficult several months, my then-husband and I sadly made the decision to separate. It was a huge gut-wrenching decision and represented a major turning point in my life.
During the first few months, feeling quite alone in my little apartment on this big country estate, I grappled with an enormous boatload of feelings. I see-sawed back and forth between regret and wracking sobs of sorrow, and tingles of excitement and periodic glimpses of joy as I started to build a new life for myself. It was in the midst of all this change that I found myself singing this little ditty that came to me. It went like this:
I flow with the river and the river is my life. I flow with the river and the river is my life.
I sang this tiny little song over and over and over again. Somehow it helped me feel a little better.
There was no doubt that I was at least half responsible for this decision that had uprooted me from a good marriage, a stepson, a beautiful home, in-laws, and socially acceptable coupledness. Clearly I didn’t just flow into a separation. But once I was there, I could choose to fight it, regret it and feel shame about it, or I could roll with it. The image of a flowing river helped me to roll with it.
Today on Facebook I happened upon the following, from a page called Zen to Zany.
Flowers do not struggle to bloom
Water does not struggle to flow
Sun does not struggle to shine
Grass does not struggle to grow
STRUGGLE IS UNNATURAL
Be like Nature
GO WITH THE FLOW.
May there be flow in your lives, friends.
Be like the river and let go.